Showcase Presenters


15 September 2016
Presenter: David Vanker, Founder & CEO

Brightable helps teams work together on anything, from anywhere. The cloud-based platform visually organizes and prioritizes shared content and related conversations, so you can see everything you’re working on and what needs to be done next. Brightable doesn't make the work easier, but it does make working easier.

Update - Year 1: is a fresh take on the team collaboration concept, focusing not on a chat thread or isolated, fragmented cloud storage but on your working content - all the stuff you share with your colleagues, customers and partners.

Shortly after presenting at the NEF Showcase, we began a modest Google Adwords campaign, which has produced more than 100 new-account signups.  Seeking to ramp up our ad spending and add key hires in marketing and software engineering, Brightable continues to aggressively seek an equity investment in the four to five hundred thousand dollar ($400,000-500,000) range.  Reach out to if you’re interested in hearing more – or sign up today at


28 July 2016
Presenter: Scott Goci - Founder

TrueJob has built a site that asks smart questions that let job candidates and recruiters get to know each other better and applies matching technology to reduce effort and speed the recruiting process.  TrueJob changes how you find your next job.

Update - Year 1:
In the past 12 months, a lot has happened with TrueJob. We partnered with Ann Arbor SPARK to replace their job board, and we are now Ann Arbor's biggest site for jobs. We also brought on a third person to the team, Brenda Jones, and have 2 interns from Eastern Michigan University helping us out.
Using our experience with Ann Arbor SPARK, we are now focused on selling TrueJob to other communities that need a job board. We think we can use our technology to help other Economic Development Organizations, Schools, Trade Associations, and many more to help job seekers and employers find each other more easily.
Update - Year 2:
In the past 12 months a lot has happened, and there's still much more to come. To start, we've
partnered with quite a few more Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) across the United States. These new partnerships include:

Along with of course still working very closely with our first partner, Ann Arbor SPARK, including just recently helping them out at their annual A2TechTrek just this past month.

In just a few months, TrueJob will also be headed off to the biggest Economic Development Organization conference in the United States, the IEDC Annual Conference in Atlanta, where we'll be talking with hundreds of leaders of Economic Development Organizations across the United States and how we can help them show off the jobs in their region, with our great job board.


16 June 2016
Presenter: Tariq Hafeez - President & Co-Founder

LegalEase Solutions provides law firms and corporate legal departments with customized legal research, compliance and litigation support through its LawStore, an e-commerce site for lawyers through which legal projects are procured, managed and delivered.  LegalEase is based in Ann Arbor, MI and powered by its attorneys located globally.

Update - Year 1:

LegalEase is coming out with version 2 of its LawStore e-commerce platform which makes it even easier for attorneys to purchase and manage legal support services online.  The LawStore version 2 will be released by the end of June.  The initial funding for the development of the platform came from a $10,000 SPARK grant.

LegalEase's corporate client base has continued to grow in 2016 into 2017 and LegalEase recently landed one of the largest automotive companies in the world as a client. LegalEase currently also provides legal support services to FCA, and is in talks with a number of other automotive clients.

LegalEase recently hired Greg Meyers to head up its corporate business development efforts. Greg lives in Ann Arbor, where he moved to after living in Hawaii for over 15 years.


19 May 2016
Presenter: Julia Winter - Founder

Alchemie builds mobile games for higher education, beginning with a huge pain point: organic chemistry. By layering of multiple learning cues - kinesthetic, audio, and visual - into engaging game-play, students have a new method to make sense of the visual-spatial ideas at the core of understanding chemistry and science.

Update - Year 1:

Since presenting in May 2016, Alchemie has earned over $1M in funding, including a $700K SBIR Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant is being used to build the Epiphany data platform which ties machine learning technology to interactive learning tools, focused initially on chemistry. Alchemie released its Animator app prior the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in San Francisco in early April 2017. An article about the app was published in the ACS magazine during the meeting. The team was a finalist in the prestigious MilkenPenn GSE business competition. The Troy-based company now has 8 employees.

Update - Year 2:

-We launched our signature product, Mechanisms, at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in New Orleans in March. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. (See picture below for faculty response!) The technology is being used already at UC San Diego, Penn State, and Wayne State University. Sales demos continue at brisk pace with 30 in the last 10 days and many moving forward with on-site visits.

--We have engaged Partner in Publishing to build the pipeline for sales and to assist with marketing and implementation. This engagement is supported by the Michigan Economic Growth Institute First Customer Program.  

--The Macomb Innovation Fund awarded Alchemie $62.5K for further support of our sales and marketing efforts! These funds were used for our ACS launch and to integrate our dashboard with Learning Management Systems for expedited use in classrooms.

--Our Augmented Reality construction tool, IsomersAR, was used in a scavenger hunt promotion at the ACS meeting. Thanks to our partners: Labster, ChemDraw, Schrödinger, WW Norton, National Science Foundation, American Association of Chemistry Teachers, and Biennial Conference on Chemical Education.


Odeum Learning

21 April 2016
Presenter: Ian Natzmer, Founder

Odeum is a tool for teachers to promote Critical Thinking, Active Participation, and increase Engagement through role-playing historic and literary events in 3D Virtual Worlds. Odeum Learning’s platform allows teachers to find, customize, and even create their own educational roleplaying experiences for the lessons they are teaching. Odeum is bringing the Field Trip to the Classroom.

Update - Year 1:

Since Ian Natzmer presented his immersive learning EdTech startup last April, Odeum has continued gaining traction in multiple areas.  Odeum has been piloted at Wyandotte Public Schools, receiving very positive feedback.  Based on this, Odeum continues to work closely with teachers to create additional content on the Odeum platform.  Odeum has also worked with the University of Michigan's Department of Education and Information Technology to improve the user experience.  Odeum has also added a team member to lead sales and marketing.  All of these activities are consistent with feedback from investors to allow Odeum to go back to investors later this year.

Civionics, Inc

17 March 2016
Presenter: Gerry Roston, CEO

Civionics is using the power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to help businesses become more profitable by reducing capital asset down-time.

Today's economy is highly reliant on engineered systems ranging from advanced manufacturing to energy production systems. These marvels of engineering are defined by complex designs, demanding operations and high capital costs. Given the criticality of these systems and the high costs associated with failure, ensuring reliable and safe operations is a demanding asset management task. Civionics offers asset managers a comprehensive wireless monitoring solution that reliably tracks the performance and health of advanced engineered systems operating in demanding environments. Civionics proprietary analytics engine automates the interrogation of sensor data to provide asset managers with what they need most: actionable information that empowers asset management decisions.

Civionics beach-head market focus is heavy manufacturing, specifically automotive metal stamping. The failure of a single components within a $20+M transfer stamping line can idle corporate-wide production, costing the manufacturer more than $1M per hour in lost revenue. Civionics has recently deployed its first pilot systems in the plants of two multi-national corporations and both customers asked for the next phase of the project before the pilot phase was even completed.

Update - Year 1:

Since having presented at NEF in 2016, Civionics completed its pilot deployment at Chrysler’s Warren Stamping Plant. The project was deemed successful by Chrysler, which has provided a testimonial stating that the Civionics systems has already prevented two likely downtime incidents, saving them an estimated $500,000. As a result, additional systems are being deployed at Chrysler, and Civionics is actively working to build its customer base and raise a pre-seed round to further accelerate market penetration.

AOE Medical

18 February 2016
Presenter: Arianna Carley, CEO & Founder

Every year 40-50% of nurses suffer debilitating back injuries from lifting and moving patients, patients fall, are dropped, or mishandled during the patient transfer process, and the healthcare industry is paying an estimated $20 Billion annually due to the current issues with the patient transfer process. At AOE Med, we have a better vision for patient transfer. Our patent-pending bariatric patient transfer device (ALPs) removes the risks associated with patient transfer making the process seamless, efficient, and safe.

Update - Year 1:

Arianna Carley successfully took AOE Medical through an early exit.  AOE, though in a different form, is still a business with headquarters now in Miami.

Workit Health

19 November 2015
Presenter: Lisa McLaughlin, CEO

Workit Health makes digital substance abuse recovery programs. Workit Health provides the following products and services:
1)  Workit Core- 90 day program for addictive behaviors    
2)  Workit Clnic- 2 year program for opioid use disorders including telepsychiatry

Presently company's flagship product “Workit Clinic” is live in the b2b and d2c markets. The Workit Program competes primarily based on its on ¬demand access to 24/7 therapeutic support from triggering moments for risky drinkers and and on-demand access to care teams of counselors and prescribing clinicians enabling home-based rehab. Clients include Steelcase, Honigman, and Salesforce.

Over the past 2 years, the company has treated 1300 patients both in person and online and 91.07% of the current patient load have attended 4 or more appointments. While the patient retention rates remain high, the conversion rates of potential patients continue to grow by an average of 10% each month.

Lisa McLaughlin is a social entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workit Health, a telehealth addiction care company creating a home-based rehab program for drinking and drug use backed by the National Science Foundation. She is the recipient of the TechWeek Detroit Technology Woman of the Year award for 2017. Lisa serves as a Desai Accelerator Mentor for early stage technology companies and as an advisor to a number of biotech startups.

Lisa has held leadership positions at some of world’s most respected digital health and learning companies. She developed one of the first social sector technology service models in the health informatics space and has facilitated a wide range of learning innovation labs for foundations (Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation) and universities. She has extensive training and experience in addiction research, crisis referral, alcohol and drug treatment aftercare, wilderness therapy, disaster response, and college completion. Lisa was previously an Innovation Fellow at the University of Michigan School of Information building social impact programs at the intersection of information science and social innovation (MSI/MSW).




Testmonial: Our NEF coaching team provided invaluable insights that vastly improved the quality of our pitch deck. The team did extensive reviews of our executive summaries and collateral and provided excellent strategic consulting on the narrative flow of our pitch. They went above and beyond. We can't recommend them highly enough.
Update - Year 1:
Workit Health successfully raised a seed round and now has customers and is demonstrating substantial growth potential. The July seed round raised $1.1Million, led by Montage Ventures (CA) and Lux Capital (NY).  For more, see  In November, they presented at Accelerate Michigan as a semi-finalist and was awarded $25,000 as the People's Choice.
Update - Year 2:

Workit Health has raised an additional $1.79 M in seed capital. They are now considered In-network with Blue Care Network. They have three new employer contracts. Workit Health is licensed as an intensive outpatient program with the State of Michigan. They are currently raising a $10M series A round. 


15 October 2015
Presenter: Dimitris Papageorgiou, CEO

Do-TheDoc Inc., a targeted digital marketing company, was launched in April 2014.  The service concept is based upon targeted marketing within industry verticals to users of a free digital document delivery service.

Do-TheDoc is currently serving the Dental Industry with HIPAA-compliant document delivery for free and has realized its first revenue from dental product and service vendors.

The Company is in the process of launching their service to the broader Medical Industry.


17 September 2015
Presenter: Bob Chunn, Founder and CEO

ContentOro is a technology company creating the first content marketplace where businesses will have immediate access to the highest quality content they need to fill their online marketing, social media, and web needs.

Testmonial: New Enterprise Forum and the people I’ve met through it have been instrumental in our early success with customers and raising capital. I am thankful for the team who worked directly with me and for the organization who has remained supportive of ContentOro all along.
Update - Year 1:

Over the past year, ContentOro has changed dramatically!

We’ve hired several key people including a new Chief Operating Officer, Rod Hare, who lives in and operates a ContentOro office in London, two of our interns from last summer and Candace Chapman, our VP of Marketing, who I worked with at Borders. We’re also working with a slew of new interns this year from Lawrence Tech and Eastern Michigan University’s Center for Digital Engagement. We have a dynamic, diverse and capable team who work very well together.

Over the past year, we’ve added some of the biggest publishers in the business: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, MacMillan, Weldon Owen and over 20 niche publishers representing everything from the latest technologies to medicine, pets, cooking and just about anything else you could think of. As we had hoped, book publishers are very willing to work with companies and people they trust, to find new markets and opportunities for the best content in the world.

We’ve built a great website with world-class content from books and we’re seeing a significant increase in visitors. We won the innovation award from the Small Business Development Corporation, Startup of the Year from UM’s Venture Capital Investment Competition, and, of course, Best Business Model from NEF. We were a semi-finalist at last years Accelerate Michigan and plan to do better than that this year!

Since February of this year, we’re working with many world class customers, like Sur La Table, Pet Supplies Plus, General RV, Ulta Beauty, Citrix, Menards, Cathay Pacific Airline and many more. The biggest learning we’ve had is the same as many other new companies; get your product out quickly and let your customers tell you how they want it to change.

Update - Year 2:

It’s been a whirlwind two years for us! We have agreements with most of the top publishers in the world and are putting their books to use with great brands like Cathay Pacific Airlines, Citrix, Pet Supplies Plus, General RV, and a growing list of others. For our current A round, we counted the number of articles we’ll be able to create from our publishers books and it comes close to 400 Million! We cut the cost of converting books to interactive web content by 3/4 and found that we can serve almost any industry with content to engage their customers.

After our seed round, we raised a large convertible note and are working with venture capital to raise an A round of $3M, which will help us to hire a sales team and build the first content marketplace; our mission from the beginning.

The best thing about the past two years is coming to the ironic realization that we needed our own services. We learned that we needed more leads to talk to because, like most startups, we have a small close rate. To answer that problem, we built a marketing system using content from books and marketing automation software that even the smallest companies can use to go to market efficiently and affordably and we’re now helping other startups do the same thing; paying it forward.